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Naval Research Program

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The Naval Research Program provides an opportunity for you, the Topic Sponsor to identify current and relevant operational issues within your organization which can be scoped into a cost-effective research thesis/project. Topic Sponsors are invited to participate in the spring Naval Research Working Group (NRWG) to brief their current topics, as well as to meet with Faculty to discuss and scope a potential research thesis/project. Independent of the NRWG, Research Topic Sponsors can browse topics and reach out to the Faculty, irrelevant to the funding cycle.

  • Engage in free NPS-funded research of your current high priority DoN/DoD research issues which can then be directly funded in follow-on research by your organizations if it proves promising.
  • Establish new research relationships with NPS faculty personnel points-of-contact and NPS campus research capabilities.



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Research Topic Submission and Review

The organization of the NPS NRP is based upon an annual research topic solicitation process that merges Department of Navy research, analysis, and studies requirements with NPS faculty and students who have unique expertise and experience. The NRP Topic Portal facilitates an ongoing collaborative workflow environment for NPS Students, NPS Faculty and Fleet Sponsors to review, submit, discuss, and sponsor NPS NRP topics for potential funding and thesis consideration. Topic review, board consideration for funding and project award is structured around a fiscal year (FY) annual cycle. There is a FY deadline that usually occurs in April. However, new topic submissions or resubmission of previously unfunded topics can be done at any time of the year.

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Topic Submission

Those wishing to be Topic Sponsors create topics via the NRP Topic Portal. Topics may also be entered by faculty and students but must have a Topic Sponsor established prior to submission of an IREF. Topics will be presented and discussed during the NRWG with NPS faculty and students. When you create a new topic on the NRP Topic Portal you are submitting it for review and consideration for NRP funding. All Topics must be aligned with Navy and/or Marine mission requirements. Topic Proposals that have already been reviewed by the Requirements Review Board (R3B) or Marine Requirements Overview Council (MROC) will receive higher NRP priority for research. Presence or absence of R3B or MROC approval for a topic is validated by the Research Topic Sponsor.

Naval Research Working Group (NRWG)

The primary synchronization and collaboration event for students, Topic Sponsors, and faculty to discuss relevant DoD research. The output of the spring event is a completed Initial Research Estimate Form (IREF) for proposed research and funding consideration. Independent of the NRWG, faculty and students are encouraged to browse topics and reach out to Topic Sponsors to discuss topics of interest, irrespective to the funding cycle.

IREF Submission {NRWG Output}

The IREF is used to submit a preliminary proposed research Statement of Work (SOW) for NRP research topics. During and following the NRWG, faculty and students work with Topic Sponsors to scope proposed projects, and then submit an IREF for topics they wish to research. Discussions with the Topic Sponsor is strongly encouraged. IREFs are submitted via the NRP Topic Portal by NPS faculty. An immediate supervisor at NPS and the Topic Sponsor POC must approve and sign the IREF for it to be considered at the Navy Topics Research Board (TRB) or Marine Executive Research Board (ERB) for potential funding. 

IREF Prioritization

Just prior to  the TRB/ERB, approved IREFs are sent to the sponsoring organization's Topic Sponsor Lead. The Topic Sponsor Lead then coordinates with their organization to internally prioritize the approved IREFs. At this time organizations may also choose to co-sponsor a project or move a project to another sponsor as appropriate for the naval mission.

Navy Topics Research Board (TRB) or Marine Executive Research Board (ERB)

The TRB is a U.S. Navy entity for prioritization and approval of research requirements. The TRB consists of at least one representative from ASN (RDA), N1, N2/N6, N3/N5, N4, N8, N9, and Fleet Force(s). The ERB is the Marine Corps entity for prioritization and approval of research requirements. The ERB consists of at least one representative from I, II, & III MEF, E2O, HQMC Aviation, HQMC I&L, HQMC MR&A, HQMC PP&O, HQMC P&R, CDET, MCMSMO, MCWL, MARCORSYSCOM, MARFORCYBER, and MARFORRES. These organizations will represent Topic Sponsors for projects undertaken within the NPS NRP or comprise the majority of Navy/Marine Corps analysis. They will review, validate, prioritize, and recommend assignment of NPS NRP resources to research projects in order to address specific Navy/Marine Corps research requirements. The TRB/ERB will verify that proposed research is relevant, not duplicative, tied to Chief of Naval Operations, Chief of Naval Research, Commandant’s Planning Guidance, Marine Corps Science and Technology Objectives, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Planning Guidance, Department of Defense (DOD), Strategic Guidance, other strategic documents or initiatives such as Research Sponsor vision statements. The TRB/ERB will designate NPS NRP research projects with a status of Requirement (of immediate need to the research sponsors), Tabled (requires more project definition), or Cancelled (project being funded by another Naval entity or of no value). If a proposed IREF is selected as a candidate for funding, the faculty researcher (Principal Investigator (PI)) will then be asked to prepare a detailed research topic proposal and budget. 

Detailed Research Topic Proposal & Budget Submission Package

The detailed research proposal and budget package is the culmination of iterative discussions with the Topic Sponsor. It provides a definitive agreement of the proposed work between the Topic Sponsor and the research PI. Once a PI has developed the formal research topic and budget proposal, an immediate supervisor at NPS and the Topic Sponsor must approve and sign the topic proposal package and submit the completed package to the NRP. A fully completed proposal package must be submitted to and approved by the NRP before funds are released to begin research. It is important that PIs, their supervisors, and Topic Sponsors work closely to complete the package in a timely manner. If a PI fails to submit a completed package to the NRP by the deadline, the funding award may be canceled and awarded to an alternate candidate.

Project Execution/Deliverables

Between October 1st - 15th accounts are funded by the NRP, and PIs can begin their research projects. Students assist faculty in the execution of funded research and production of deliverables. Topic Sponsors are responsible for coordinating with faculty PIs and for oversight of the execution of their individual research projects undertaken under the NPS NRP process. PIs are responsible for all project specific deliverables as outlined and approved in their signed research topic proposal as well as for the NRP specific NRP PI Project Deliverables.


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Explore Research Topics @ NPS

Login to the NRP Topic Portal to review current and past sponsored topics or to create a new topic:




Topic Sponsors and their POC information are found within each topic to enable you to make contact directly.

Search Calhoun to explore all past research conducted by students at Naval Postgraduate School.

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Follow @NPS_NRP on Twitter

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Meeting Fleet Objectives

ONR S&T Strategy Logo

Office of Naval Research S&T Objectives:

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides technological advantage to the Navy and Marine Corps through investments in S&T research.  

Topic proposals qualifiying in one of the nine objectives, or focus areas, will recieve higher NRP priority for research and for ONR funding.

•  Assure Access to Maritime Battlespace
•  Autonomy and Unmanned Systems
•  Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare
•  Expeditionary and Irregular Warfare
•  Information Dominance (Cyber)
•  Platform Design and Survivability
•  Power and Energy
•  Power Projection and Integrated Defense
•  Warfighter Performance

S&T is approximately one percent of the DoN budget and provides the "venture capital“ of research funds across four components:

  •  Quick Reaction S&T: Immediate warfighter needs
  •  Technology Maturation: Subsystems and components for current and planned programs
  •  Leap-ahead Innovations: Higher risk, high payoff disruptive technologies
  •  Discovery and Invention: Fundamental science and long-term initiatives
For an in-depth explanation of the Naval S&T Strategy, follow the link below, and for further explanation of the nine focus areas, scroll to Appendix A, on Page 26; and Appendix D on Page 50. Additional information is also located at:

Resources and Requirements Review Board (R3B)

The R3B is the Navy’s 3 and 4-star forum for reviewing and making decisions on Navy requirements and resource issues. The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Integration of Capabilities and Resources (CNO (N8)) generally serves as the chairperson. DoN R3B Charter

It serves as the focal point for decision-making regarding Navy and Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS)  Acquisition Category (ACAT) I through IV and abbreviated acquisition requirements, as well as: 

-Validates non-acquisition related, emergent, and Joint requirements
-Coordinates service input to Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution (PPBE) processes

-Resolves cross-enterprise or cross-sponsor issues. 

This 3-star level formal board, staffed by Navy Admirals and DoD personnel, is held quarterly or on an as-needed basis to meet high priority Department of the Navy and Marine Corps needs. Presense or absense of R3B or MROC approval for a topic is validated by the Topic Sponsor.

Topic proposals that have already been reviewed by R3B or MROC will receive higher NRP priority for research.


Marine Requirements Overview Council

The MROC is the primary, enterprise-level USMC leadership forum to advise and assist the Commandant of the Marine Corps in the execution of his Title 10 United States Code and Joint Chiefs of Staff responsibilities. MCO5311.6 Advocates and Proponents in the MROC Process

This 3-star level formal board, staffed by Marine Corps Generals and DoD personnel, is held quarterly or on an as-needed basis to meet high priority Department of the Navy and Marine Corps needs. Presense or absense of R3B or MROC approval for a topic is validated by the Topic Sponsor.

Topic proposals that have already been reviewed by R3B or MROC will receive higher NRP priority for research.

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